Japan says it is “directly approaching” Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels after they seized a ship partially owned by an Israeli businessman and operated by a Japanese firm with around 25 crew on board.
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa says Tokyo is “communicating with Israel, and in addition to directly approaching the Houthis, we are also urging Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and other countries concerned to strongly urge the Houthis for the early release of the vessel and crew members.”
“Our government will continue to take necessary measures in cooperation with the countries concerned, while taking into account the situation,” she adds.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree had said that the rebels had seized “an Israeli ship” on Sunday.
The Bahaman-flagged vessel is registered under a British company, which is partially owned by Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar, who goes by Rami. The vessel was leased out to a Japanese company at the time of the hijacking.